34th Solar Physics Division Meeting, June 2003
Session 24 Beyond SDO
Oral, Thursday, June 19, 2003, 1:30-3:30pm, Auditorium

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[24.03] High Resolution Spectroscopy

D. M. Hassler (Southwest Research Institute)

Complex, evolving systems of ionized plasma and magnetic field are ubiquitous throughout astrophysics and are a quintessential part of space physics, from the solar atmosphere to the solar-terrestrial environment. However, understanding of these complex systems has remained elusive. Fundamental questions remain about the detailed dynamics of both large and small scale structure in the solar atmosphere.

To understand the behavior of these complex systems, high resolution spectroscopic observations must be obtained both at very high time cadence and at many temperatures simultaneously. Existing EUV imaging telescopes, such as SOHO/EIT and TRACE, are capable of recording single-wavelength pictures at the high cadences necessary to resolve plasma evolution on fine scales, but there is significant ambiguity in the interpretation of these narrow temperature band images. Without spectral diagnostics, the observations are incapable of distinguishing between the possible mechanisms responsible for the flow of energy and momentum throughout the solar atmosphere on all time scales. Only simultaneous imaging and high resolution spectroscopic observations together can provide the new measurements necessary to remove these interpretational ambiguities.

I will discuss several high resolution spectroscopy mission concepts, and technologies relevant to enabling these mission concepts, for probing energy and mass transport in the solar atmosphere with as much as two orders of magnitude improvement in time resolution compared to existing spectrographs. These missions will give us the tools that we need to understand the form and quantity of energy released by reconnections on many scales in the chromosphere and corona, filling significant gaps in both the LWS and SEC themes, as well as benefiting other fields ranging from astrophysics in general to laboratory plasma stability.


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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
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